• Time Running Short on 2020-Specific Planning Opportunities

    Now is the time for CPAs to connect with their clients for financial planning before this year’s opportunities are gone. Given the outbreak of the pandemic, subsequent legislative action passed in the CARES Act, labor cutbacks, and volatility in financial markets, the end of 2020 has become a prime moment when you can assist clients and, when possible, take advantage of a favorable planning environment.
  • DOR vs. AG: Who Gets Final Say on Tax Statute Interpretation?

    In the unusual case of Synthes USA HQ Inc. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court resolved dueling interpretations between the state Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Office of the Attorney General regarding apportionment sourcing of service revenues. The outcome of the case has potentially wide-ranging implications for corporate net income tax and personal income tax apportionment via pass-through entities. The deference given by the court to the DOR may also impact future tax controversies and settlements.
  • Obligations to Produce Records in Response to a Subpoena

    Tax return preparers have certain obligations regarding confidentiality. Failure to adhere to these rules can subject preparers to civil and criminal liability, possibly causing irreparable reputational harm.
  • SSARS 25: Big Benefits to Early Adoption

    AICPA’s Accounting & Review Services Committee issued SSARS No. 25, Materiality in a Review of Financial Statements and Adverse Conclusions, in February 2020 – fewer than 50 days before the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. While the standard does not require application until reporting periods ending after Dec. 15, 2021, there are strong arguments for early adoption of SSARS 25 for 2020 review engagements.
  • Comfort with the Uncomfortable: CFO Leadership

    Recently I had a conversation with a coworker about professional development to help them prepare to move beyond their current role. The exchange took me back to how unprepared I felt some 10 years ago when I stepped into the CFO role for the first time. There was no textbook I had read or class I had taken that prepared me for the pace and randomness of the CFO role. One can certainly learn from others if you have a good mentor or teacher, and reading articles and attending CPE do help take some of the mystery away over time. In the end, though, the best way to learn is through the experience of being in the role. This column has been prepared to help those who aspire to be CFOs someday understand some of the dynamics they may encounter when stepping into that role.
  • Have a Plan to Pass the Torch for Succession Planning Success

    Having a well-thought-out succession plan is critical to the long-term viability of a business. Yet, according to PwC’s 2019 U.S. Family Business Survey, only 58% of family businesses have succession plans, and most of those are informal.
  • The Past, Present, and Future of Consolidation in Public Accounting

    In many ways, the KPMG transaction was the catalyst for a wave of mergers and combinations that has taken place across the accounting profession over the past 30 years among firms of all sizes. In this feature, we look at what motivates “the urge to merge” and examine the implications of continuing consolidation within the profession.
  • Growing Debts and Deficits Pulling Down Our Future

    What’s the difference between “equity” and “resilience?” In real terms, essentially nothing: equity is resilience. Equity gives you, a company, or a government the ability to take a hit – a hit like a recession or a pandemic. The big question now is whether or not the United States has the equity to return to normal after a crisis. To consider this issue, I explore the growing U.S. debt, the concomitant reduction in equity, and the implications of debt growth on government and the economy as a whole.
  • Corporate CPAs: A Beacon of Ethical Behavior

    In all likelihood, I’m guessing your CEO and board usually set financial targets that call for significant sales growth – perhaps even when the core product line has been in decline for years. You and your finance team are expected to deliver this growth while also planning for reduced costs and delivering increased income on the bottom line. If you hit headwinds, you better protect the bottom line at all costs, right? Wall Street and other stakeholders will not be forgiving if you miss the targets you’ve communicated.
  • Becoming a Creative CPA with the WonderRigor Paradigm

    Having mastered rigor, are we, as CPAs, already halfway to becoming our best creative selves? James Caruso reached out to Nixon and the two have come together to discuss the WonderRigor creative framework, how it can be used to apply a creativity competency to accounting, and why CPAs are already more creative than they think.
  • Lean Accounting Brings Focus and Direction to Company Performance

    Companies across all industries for the past 20 years have been adopting lean manufacturing as a strategy to improve performance. Lean accounting emerged soon after, and it has grown in recent years as a related strategy to align the financial side of an organization with the overall lean effort.
  • International Reporting Failures Create Penalty and Statute of Limitations Problems

    An ever-growing number of businesses and individuals are going global. Familiarity with the U.S. tax forms that are necessary to properly disclose foreign assets and interests is thus paramount. Four critical forms – Foreign Bank Accounting Re-port (FBAR), 8938, 8621, and 3520 – are summarized here, including applicable penalties.
  • Private-Label Pricing Strategy to Optimize the Bottom Line

    Most manufacturing companies, especially in the consumer products industry, will encounter the situation when the sales department presents an opportunity to sell a private-label product to a customer. Unless you have a strategy in place to determine if you can compete in this area, properly vet the opportunity, and then price it, your bottom line could be adversely affected.
  • Building a Bright Future for Pennsylvania CPAs

    It is a privilege and an honor to serve as your 2020-2021 PICPA president. I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of Marty Levin and so many other excellent leaders who paved the way for the next generation. I pledge to serve the PICPA and its 20,000 members with honor, integrity, and positive energy, and to do everything I can to advance the profession that we all love and that has given us so much.
  • Pa. General Assembly Adjusts and Moves Forward

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in early spring, many wondered what effect it would have on legislative activity in Harrisburg. It turns out, as was the case for most of us, adjustments were made and the work went on. House and Senate lawmakers were in session 58 days from the onset of Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration on March 6 through the middle of July, when the General Assembly recessed. In that time, 69 bills were signed into law by the governor.
  • Lessons from the Transition to Online Education

    In mid-March 2020, colleges and universities in Pennsylvania decided to stop traditional classroom teaching and switch to online delivery for the conclusion of the spring semester. As educators devised their plans, many attempted to make the experience similar to a classroom setting by meeting at regularly scheduled times using Zoom sessions.
  • Upskilling Is the Path Forward for Emerging CPAs

    Emerging CPAs will make themselves more valuable by upskilling, which in turn creates more company value. According to PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, 74% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills in the workplace. PwC defines upskilling as giving “employees opportunities to gain the knowledge, tools, and ability they need to use advanced and ever-changing technologies in the workplace.”
  • How COVID-19 Pandemic Amplifies Cybersecurity Concerns

    Just as many cybersecurity experts predicted, there was a surge in cyberattacks against practices of all sizes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations that track cyberattacks reported an increase of 300% during these unprecedented times.
  • Managing a Financial Planning Practice in Times of Crisis

    For CPAs who provide personal financial planning services to individuals and families, the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been eye-opening. We have seen lives upended within each and every age group of an extended family: day cares closed, children unable to attend school, jobs furloughed or eliminated, locations of employment temporarily or permanently closed, and family members left isolated during social distancing. So, how do we manage our clients’ financial planning needs when the world is in such turmoil?
  • Demystifying Unemployment Trusts for Nonprofits

    Nonprofits have two options for dealing with unemployment claims. They can pay fees based on experience and payroll into a state unemployment program or opt to reimburse the state for actual claims. Here are some basics to help you explore the options for your nonprofit.
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